The Ravens have entered into a multiyear sports betting partnership with online gaming company BetMGM, announcing the deal a day after Gov. Larry Hogan signed a bill establishing legal sports gambling in Maryland.
Under terms of the partnership announced Wednesday, New Jersey-based BetMGM will have a sponsored presence on Ravens digital and social platforms, BetMGM signage and branding will appear in M&T Bank Stadium and the sports betting app will offer promotions targeted to Ravens fans. BetMGM also will have a private hospitality suite within the stadium.
The football franchise and the gaming company said it was too early to say how sports wagering eventually might work at the stadium, either in-person or through a mobile app, because state officials still must create a regulatory framework for the new industry.
Currently the National Football League prohibits teams from offering on-site betting, regardless of state gaming laws, though marketing arrangements with casino or sportsbook sponsors are allowed.
[ Maryland moves closer to legalized sports gambling as bill signed into law ]
Maryland residents voted in favor of a referendum to legalize sports betting in November 2020. The governor approved a plan Tuesday agreed to by state lawmakers that will dole out in-person licenses for the stadiums of the Ravens, the Orioles and the Washington Football Team as well as casinos and Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course thoroughbred racing tracks.
It’s unclear whether sports venues would be permitted to offer wagering year-round or only on game days or during special events.
“When we began the process of carefully identifying partners in the field of sports betting and digital gaming, one of our top priorities was finding unique ways for Ravens fans to further engage with the team,” said Kevin Rochlitz, the Ravens chiefs sales officer, said in Wednesday’s announcement.
The partnership with BetMGM is the first of three such arrangements the Ravens are planning with online sports gaming platforms, Rochlitz said. The team expects to announce two others in coming weeks.
Though there will be differences among the three, all are expected to be marketing partners and attractive for fans and have exposure at Ravens games, he said.
BetMGM also has NFL partnerships with the Denver Broncos, the Tennessee Titans, the New York Jets, the Detroit Lions and Pittsburgh Steelers. Some NFL teams have multiple sportsbook partnerships, such as the Broncos, which also has deals with FanDuel and Betfred.
BetMGM also has a partnership with the Washington Nationals baseball team. The Nationals’ sports betting license allows it, in collaboration with BetMGM, to offer a year-round, “brick-and-mortar” sportsbook, which may be open this summer outside the center field gate at Nationals Park. It won’t be accessible inside the stadium, but fans will be able to wager via an app from concourses or seats.
In Virginia, the Washington Football Team has a permit for online sports betting that already is up and running in conjunction with FanDuel, the betting and fantasy sports app.
BetMGM offers sports betting and online gaming through brands such as BetMGM, Borgata Casino, Party Casino and Party Poker.
“The Ravens are an incredible organization with a rich history, and we’re proud to become the team’s first official partner in the gaming space,” said Matt Prevost, BetMGM’s chief revenue officer. “Through BetMGM, Ravens fans will be able to engage with their favorite football team at a new and heightened level.”
BetMGM got its start in 2018 through a partnership between MGM Resorts International and Entain, a sports betting and gaming group in both the online and in-person sectors. The BetMGM platform is offered at MGM’s U.S. resorts.
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MGM operates the casino at MGM National Harbor, which would be licensed for sports betting under the state’s plan.
“BetMGM’s partnership with the Ravens comes at a pivotal time for MGM National Harbor, as we usher in the era of legalized sports betting in Maryland,” said Jorge Perez, president & CEO of MGM National Harbor. “We are confident that we will provide Ravens fans throughout the DMV with new and innovative ways to experience football season before, during and after games at our entertainment resort.”
State lawmakers legalized sports betting in Maryland in the legislative session that ended this month and had hoped it could be underway by late summer or early fall, in time for the NFL season.
Legislators agreed on a plan to offer licenses for nearly 100 in-person and online venues. Besides casinos, racetracks and the two Baltimore stadiums, additional on-premises licenses would be available for off-track betting facilities, the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium and large bingo halls.
Additional licenses would go to mobile and online sports betting, which has made up the bulk of sports betting in other states.
The governor’s signing of sports betting into law means the state can now create a commission to review and issue the licenses. The state has not yet set a date for when businesses can begin applying for licenses.